LiveJournal Profile
M. C. A. Hogarth
Name: M. C. A. Hogarth
What's This All About?
My life in text: writing, art, massage therapy, fencing, health, humor and language and culture; ethics and society and personal musing.
Author's Other Websites
Stardancer News
The Pursuit of Beauty
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I'm M.C.A. Hogarth, author and artist. I write fiction (science fiction, fantasy, romance, etc), nonfiction (mostly about business and parenthood) and draw pictures, mostly of dragons, elves and people in beautiful clothes. Below you can see some of what I'm doing currently, and check up on my status.

Latest Kickstarter Project
Coming soon in late summer of 2014!


Writing
Latest E-Fiction: Check out the fiction I have online, what order to read it in and where to buy it. Or have a look at my intended publishing schedule for the year.

Latest Paperback: Rose Point, Book 2 of Her Instruments. Space opera; in this case, the continuing adventures of irascible merchant Captain Reese Eddings, as she delves deeply (and unwillingly) into space elf politics...

Current Serial: TBA!

Art
Latest Sale: Originals are for sale here. My Zazzle store offers prints, mugs, shirts, bags and such! Otherwise you can keep up on my offers on Livejournal through my "sale" tag.

General:
If you have a lot of spare time and haven't browsed it yet, I have over 3000 images available on my website, sketches, paintings and comics.

Cons: Watch this Space!

Status
Balance Card 5-Card Readings: Not Available
Balance Card Keepsake Paintings: Not Available
Commissions: Not taking them.
Illustration projects: Not taking them.

P.O. Box
Email me for my address, if you'd like to request materials or send a tip or donation.


MCAH Online Home.
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20140920-dlanefromlivestream 20140920-thenetfromlivestream


We had a wonderful time last night! Thanks to all of you who came to listen and watch--I think we were up to 20 people at one point, which made for a lively crowd (and yet you could still hear a pin drop during the dramatic scenes!). I always enjoy chatting with you all!

Up there are the pieces of art I did during the livestream: Dlane on cream paper and Thenet on gray. If someone wants to buy those to help continue funding the audiobook, just drop me a line! Right now I pay for an hour a month, but if I get more funds in, I can go as high as 4 or 5 a month... we could be done with the whole thing by December if we did that! No more 'what, it ended? NOOOOOO!' moments. *grin*

Those of you subscribing through my Patreon at the $5+ level can now get the MP3 of the first hour here.

Once again, thanks everyone! Next month, we head into the forest, and Dlane continues to turn Thenet inside out with her wild ideas. Poor Thenet. :)

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Start Time: 9 PM EST! Probably until 11:30-ish PM.

URL: http://www.livestream.com/mcah

What do I do? Go to that URL, open the chat window, choose a name for yourself and say hi! If you have a Flash/script blocker you will need to unblock the page to see the stream.

Activity of the Night: Listening to Hour 1 of The Worth of a Shell audiobook! I'll be drawing a Jokka picture to use for the Patreon upload, and then probably working on toddler coloring book images.

Hope to see some of you there!

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Current Mood: preparing

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Just a reminder: tomorrow night at 9 PM EST I'll be hosting a livestream! All you need to attend is a web browser... you don't even need speakers if you're not in it for the audio. You can just watch me draw/type in the chat. :)

I'll have detailed instructions for what you need to do up tomorrow before we get started!

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If I drank as much as I joke about drinking, I think I'd be incredibly poor, the size of a rhino, but a lot more cheerful. As it is, it makes a good joke, particularly among artist/authors who are navigating the industry... which is probably why ursulav and I are usually (mournfully) talking about drinking. A couple of days ago I told her about the organic sangria we discovered at Whole Foods, and the fact that it's made with pomegranate and acai, and one thing led to another and this drawing showed up:



I had a good giggle, and got out the new pens to answer:



Which was more a meditation on my memory of how Ursula talks in person, as this constant flow in which humor just erupts and then you laugh and wonder how she does it, being funny so consistently. It's this rhythm that's like trickling water... I don't know. Hard to explain. I like listening to people anyway, but I do have favorites, and Ursula's an easy winner.

Anyway, it's a rare day that I am gloomy and she can't make me laugh. I hope these drawings passed that on to you!

Oh, and the superfruit sangria is real! Don't blame me if you don't live forever, though. -_-

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Current Mood: amused amused

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Emo Elves Don't Sell


Cut for people wanting to wait for the whole book.Collapse )

This book is mostly talking, and philosophy. It's necessary talking, not just from a plot perspective, but because... I've essentially put five students and a professor on a road trip with nothing else to distract them. Of course they're going to spend the entire time talking. They discover the world by talking through their observations.

I worry this will bore people. It's not boring me, though? I guess I've always been more interested in psychology and philosophy than adventure.

I also worry about this book turning into a M/M/F romance. I didn't intend that at all, and it feels like I'm taking the easy way out by not having the character pick one. :P

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Current Music: The Doves - Kingdom of Rust

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On a more pleasant note, I got my personal copies of the coloring book (which I approved digitally, so I haven't had it to hand yet). It turned out well!



And here are all the coloring books together:



I've got one more planned for this year, the toddler book, which I'll be starting during the livestream Saturday.

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Ours was an aural racism: we were white people until we opened our mouths. Then the jobs didn't come, the doors didn't open, the sneers sprang onto faces. My charco de leche father was acceptable until people heard his accent, and then he was one of those people, foreign, Hispanic, those Mexican types, ignoring completely that we weren't Mexican and that Hispanic comes in more colors than brown.

There is no navigating society without speech. You either talk with your mouth or your hands, but you talk. And the moment my family talked, we were betrayed.

I wonder sometimes if this is why my parents were so committed to speaking English in our household. There was no "let's make sure you grow up bilingual." Schools that taught Spanish because Hispanics were an "in" minority didn't exist when I was young, but even if they had, my parents wouldn't have put us in one so we could revel in our rich, immigrant heritage. 'We came to America so you could be born free,' they told us. 'You will be Americans.'

Inevitably, we were. We soaked into the culture and taught it to them. "Yay!" my sister told my parents, "I've lost a tooth! Now the tooth fairy will come!" "The what? What do we do? Quick, call someone and ask." "What are we doing for Thanksgiving?" "Thanksgiving? What is that?" "I think it has something to do with Indians."

We grew up without accents and paid the price for our camouflage. My grandparents grew older and lost their English, and I grew older and lost my fluency in Spanish. I could only listen, not share my life with them, and inevitably we grew apart. When Alzheimer's took my grandmother's mind, it only made biological a process that had been evolving for years as I'd sat before her mute and embarrassed, wishing I was less clumsy with the words. Wishing I was a little less American and a little more Cuban, so I could have kept my family. Wishing my parents hadn't done quite so good at job at cutting us off from where we'd come from, so we could more fully integrate into where we were now.

My parents wanted the best for us. They didn't want us to suffer the discrimination they did, so bad that they had to band together with other Cubans for support. They didn't want the sneers and the contempt and the closed doors.

They succeeded, and I am grateful for it.

But I lost so much that isn't visible when people shake my hand and chat with me. They think I'm rich in privilege because I look like the ruling class. I wish I could tell them how hard it is to hear it, when all my life sound has been the tool of our oppression.

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A while back, thewronghands linked to an article that suggested describing people with food words was a form of objectification. Maybe it feels that way to some people, and if that's true, I am sorry that it distresses them. But I was completely mystified, because for as long as I've read, writers have been describing people of every race and color with food words, and I love it.

Pale people get skin like milk, or cream, or if they're healthy and fresh, they have peaches-and-cream skin. If they're sallow or unhealthy, they are fish-belly white. The Eldritch in my books get it too: sugar-pale, or salt-white, depending on how grumpy the person describing them is. We start moving darker and get honey and caramel skin, and then coffee with cream, and chocolate, and espresso. Let's not forget the olives, either. Hair gets this treatment too: pale hair is likened to wheat, or cornsilk, and then we have ginger and cinnamon hair, and chestnut (confusingly to me, as the chestnuts I've seen are almost black, but chestnut the color is reddish). Drinks are also fair game: Ivy, Morgan's crush, has hair the color of tea; Hirianthial had eyes the color of a dark claret. I've seen coffee, cocoa, brandy, even white wine used for describing people's hair, eyes, skin. Other alcohols are popular too; I think I've used ale-brown at least once, and I've seen 'hair the color of a barley beer.' And I adore surprising food-color words, like macadamia and blanched almond, or plum-black, or berry-brown.

I always thought of this sort of description as beautiful and sensuous and delightful, and I'm pretty sure humans will be doing it forever. We like metaphor, and food is a wonderful and necessary and sublime part of being alive. You can use it to make people sound icky (tapioca skin!) or edible and delectable (creamy skin). It's a versatile tool!

Maybe I'm crazy. But I am flattered when someone tells me I have eyes the color of coffee. Coffee is a gorgeous color. And I have toffee-colored extremities: I'm telling you this now so that you can appreciate it properly when you see me.

Do you have any favorite food-as-color-for-people metaphors?

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Audiobook Livestream!
Reminder: the audiobook livestream is this coming Saturday! Gathering starts at 9 PM EST, with the audiobook queued for 9:30. Afterwards, Patreon tippers will have access to the MP3; you can pledge here (the reward description is at the very bottom of the page there).

End of Year Schedule
Tentatively:
September - Toddler Coloring Book
October - Squid Book
November - Vinny Book 2
December - Books 1, 2, and 3 of the Blood Ladders Trilogy.

Yes, that really does say 'squid book,' because I think doing a bilingual picture book of photos of the squid doing stuff would be tremendous fun, and so does Daughter!

Con Impending
Speaking of schedules, NecronomiCon is in three weeks. I'll be there all weekend, but only for panels! If you want to meet me and you're not sure you'll be able to intersect my speaking schedule, tell me now so we can arrange for coffee and chat. This is my last planned convention of the year. :)

Art in Places
One of my pieces is apparently going on the cover of the first issue of online poetry magazine Liminality. I am looking forward to seeing/reading it!

Stuff
I am tired. And I think I'm overworked. You are all so surprised. If I am slow to respond to comments/emails/nice things you've sent me, that would be why! Also, thank you for the new reviews people are leaving around! I really appreciate those, as always. And I hope you're liking the coloring books, and that maybe some photos of your efforts will float up on the internet soon...!

Random Photo
Here, have a blue-tongued skink:

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Look who came to gratefulness tea last night!



My mom has ruined Daughter for handmade stuffed animals with this 6.5-foot crocheted scarlet squid. Her 'gratefulness' list yesterday was "squid," all the way down... receiving this blew the rest of her day completely out of her head, even though it included one of her favorite weekly activities, dance class. She fell asleep hugging it like a body pillow, feet tangled with the tentacles; when I checked on her this morning she had her head on it like a pillow, with all the arms wrapped around to set ten tentacular hands on her legs.

I kinda can't blame her. Past a certain size, a stuffed animal gains an animating spirit. A day later I still can't tell what's more awesome, the squid itself, or my mental image of my mother in her big soft armchair, watching historical soap operas from Spain with half an enormous red squid head in her lap while she absently plies her crochet hook on it, and all the tentacle arms, half-filled with stuffing, spilling around her.

Definitely a 'both' situation.

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Coloring-Book-Cover-Men-in-Fantasy-flat
Amazon | B&N | Createspace


Men in fantasy art always seem stuck in the same poses: weapons lifted, trapped in an eternal fight. Where are the rest of the guys? Fathers, friends, pet-owners, scholars and fishermen, men from every part of the world and of every race, fantastical or human... they need some art too! We’ve done women in believable armor. Now it’s time for believable men, in armor or not!

This is a special book, I think. I did an unprecedented amount of new art for it based on prompts from fans and readers... which is how I ended up with orc dad as well as elf dad, the scholar with the afro, the disabled elf with his earth giant friend, and many others. While these coloring books were originally conceived as a way to make use of old sketches few people have a chance to see, I really relished the opportunity to meet some of your challenges, and I think you'll really enjoy the results!

men-in-fantasy-samples


In each book, you'll find twenty pages of art (one image per page, so you can tear them out without worrying about what picture's on the other side), all men except for the one token woman (me, on the final "About the Artist" page). The paper's got a nice tooth, and is just a little bit off-white so that your white pens and crayons will show up on it. I'm really happy with the quality, and those of you who remember coloring might get a bit of nostalgia (without all the troublesome rips that the tissue-thin newsprint cheap coloring books used to develop constantly!).

This is my fourth coloring book! Did you miss the companion volume of women in fantasy art, "Not in Need of Rescue" (Amazon, B&N)? Or you can check out my book of the flowing-haired alien Jokka (Amazon, B&N). I also did the adorable for kids (and adults!) Laundry Dragons Coloring Book Adventure (Amazon, B&N). More coloring for everyone! Or just keep them as affordable art books.

Note: Coloring Books are available only in print editions! Figuring out how to get all the retailers to sell PDF-only copies is not possible at this time. So enjoy the tactile pleasure of your physical object... and get it messy with some markers, pencils, or crayons of your choice. And if you feel inclined, upload your colored pages as 'Customer Images' to retailers that allow the option! I'd love to see your efforts! :)

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Current Mood: hooray!

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After waiting *mumble four or five or maybe six* years, I finally got new glasses, and it is literally like I was trying to see through fog and now it's cleeeeeeeear!



True story: after my initial squeal of amazement, I walked to the car, got in and was horrified at how dirty it was. I got home: same reaction. Walked into my closets to put away my clean shirts and found they were fuzzy and I never noticed them getting old.

My husband is following me around trying not to laugh that his absent-minded Libra wife is finally noticing all the niggling 'ack make it clean/fixed/perfect' Virgo details he usually has to take care of because I was blissfully unaware of them. >.>

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Current Mood: EVERYTHING SO PRETTY

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Yesterday, I had as good an opportunity to test my retailers against one another as any; I paid a third party promotional group to advertise my Earthrise sale in their newsletter, which is sent to only people who've indicated an interest in finding great SF/F bargains. The newsletter gives you the cover art, a blurb, and links to all the retailers you indicate (I put in Kobo, Apple, B&N, and Apple). The sale price, of course, is the same everywhere. So this newsletter goes out to dedicated fans of science fiction, and they can pick with a single click where they want to buy it.

Yesterday, Amazon reported an extra 94 sales of the novel. B&N?

Two.

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Now, I am exactly the sort of reader I like to target when marketing. My characteristics:

1. My entertainment budget is devoted entirely to books; it's my only (paid-for) hobby, since the only games I occasionally play are free. So while I don't have infinite money, I buy a lot of books.

2. I read voraciously: one average-sized book every couple of days, even with my workload/schedule. I am predisposed to buying books under $7 because it stretches my budget, and I am indie-friendly.

3. I research books before buying (by reading the reviews and downloading the sample), which means if I finally buy it, I'm probably going to like it unless you flub it completely.

4. I review things I like/recommend things on my blog/buy copies for friends; if I like an author's work, I talk it up.

Amazon does a very good job servicing Jaguar Template Customer. I run through an author's books pretty quickly unless they're super-prolific, and once I'm done with them I leap into the Also Boughts (usually while still on my kindle) and start shopping that way. I look for reviewers who share my taste and go through their reviews. When I am at my computer, when someone mentions a book that sounds interesting, the Amazon search engine has a weirdly psychic way of filling in/finding that book. (arielstarshadow, this is something I was thinking about with you mentioning having a pen name people could remember. Amazon has filled in more bizarre author names for me than I can count.) If the 'Also Boughts' are empty, I sometimes check the 'Customers who looked at this went on to buy these things' list. It's a rare day that buying one book on Amazon doesn't lead me to finding another that might be interesting.

B&N's website, on the other hand, does not reward you unless you know exactly what you came for. The auto-fill in search box doesn't always work. Sometimes it fails to find a book unless you choose the right department, even when you're purportedly searching the whole store. The actual product pages are too long; I have to scroll much further down to find the reviews. And of course, there are no also-boughts, so I can go find other books like the one I'm researching. It's just awkward. The whole shopping experience is awkward.

Now, I am the first person to tout the importance of diversification, particularly in income; it's why I mostly sell fantasy and science fiction novels, but I've also put my fingers in the coloring book and children's book markets. If I could figure out how to clone my fingers so I could get them in more pots, I would. And I have, technically, diversified my retail outlets along with my product offerings.

But looking at my sales figures, you wouldn't know it.

Amazon could use a competitor. They're good at innovating now, so I can only imagine what heights an actual adversary would drive them to achieve. But B&N is not that competitor. And I wonder if anyone's learning the right lessons about what it takes to be a contender in the book retail market.

*sighs*

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Coloring Books
The new one is already on Createspace and Amazon! As soon as it hits B&N, I'll do a formal launch post with a URL you can share. I also just signed a distribution contract for the Women in Fantasy book, so by the holidays those will be in stores and at cons.

The Worth of a Shell Livestream Extravaganza!
Starts this month! For those of you who missed what this is all about, I'm going to be livestreaming the Shell audiobook! I'll be working on art during the livestream, so those of you who prefer not to listen to the book can turn off the audio and chat with me, or just watch. (I'm not sure what the chat will be like, but I kind of hope it will be filled with people going 'ack!' or 'oooh' at the narration with me. *grin*)

So, specifics:

Date/Time: Our first broadcast will be Saturday, September 20th. Start time is 9 PM EST for general chatter. Broadcast of the book begins at 9:30.

Afterwards: If you miss the broadcast and want to catch up, or if you just want a hassle-free download, the MP3 will be available to Patreon tippers at the $5+ a month level. (So, one hour a month, $5). I am not going to chase you down if you listen to the free broadcast and rip the audio and then put it on your MP3 player. I only ask that you don't re-broadcast it or re-sell it, since after the serialization ends I'm going to be packing it up for sale/download at other sites. I'm paying the narrator for his time, so the Patreon tips are a way for me to recoup my costs, which are not insignificant. I have this terrible habit of wanting to pay other artists fairly well. Wonder where that desire came from. -_-

Earthrise on Sale!
Today, Earthrise is on sale at every outlet for 99 cents! If you've wanted to pick it up (or buy it for someone else), now's a good time. :)

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